2 Thessalonians 3 Bible study

 

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1 Corinthians

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Chapter 3.

 

Praying for God's Servants.

 

1. Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you.

 

Paul recognized the value of prayer and often asked churches to pray for him. He asks for prayer that God's word might be made widely known without any hindrance and that many would believe the gospel and be saved, bringing glory to the Lord Jesus, as had happened in Thessalonica.

 

2. And that we may be rescued from wicked and evil people; for not all have faith.

 

He asked for prayer that he and his companions to be kept safe from the "perverse and actively malicious" men who sought to harm them. Not everyone will receive a saving knowledge of the truth in order to be saved (Matt. 13:19). Every church should take seriously its responsibility to pray for its leadership and for all involved in Gospel ministry, that the harvest may be gathered in.

 

 

The Lord is Faithful.

 

3,4. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command.

 

Despite those who oppose us and our message, the Lord can be utterly trusted, and he will not allow anything to harm or destroy our souls. Even if men are allowed to touch us physically, they cannot touch the soul which we have placed into Christ's hands - for there it is secure (Luke 12:4 - 5 ; John 10:27 - 29 ; 2 Tim. 1:12). Paul was confident that the Lord was working in the lives of the Thessalonians, that he would establish them in Christ and make them obedient to the Lord's commands, which had been made known to them by the apostles.  

 

5. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

 

His prayer is that the Lord would guide their hearts into God's love and enable them to continue steadfastly in the faith - in spite of persecution - as they waited eagerly for the coming of the Lord

 

 

The Work Ethic.

 

6. Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us.

 

Whilst this was a timely message for the Thessalonians, God's word applies in every age. The command that Paul gives is of the most serious kind, since he gives it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. To disobey this command was to disobey Christ. No one in the Christian church should keep company with another Christian whose life is not marked by disciplined obedience to Christ. Those whose lives are not lived according to God's word are to be deliberately avoided.

 

7. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you.

 

The apostles themselves had not behaved unruly in Thesalonica, for they lived as men who obeyed their master - Jesus Christ. In doing this they gave an example for the young church to follow.

 

8. And we did not eat anyone's bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you.

 

The apostles refused to accept food from anyone without paying for it. They ate what they earned. Even while they preached God's word, they worked day and night to provide for their own needs, so that they would not have to accept financial help from these young Christians.

 

9. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate.

 

It was not that they did not have the right to such help. On the contrary, the Lord commanded that whoever preaches the Gospel should financially supported by their local church (1 Cor. 9:14). This is so that they might give their full time to preaching the word. But instead of using their right, the apostles worked hard for they wanted to set an example. God intends for Christians to work for their living. There should never be laziness in the church of God.

 

10. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.

 

Paul's instructions while they lived with the Thessalonians were that if anyone did not work for his living then he would have to go without food.

 

11. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.

 

Paul had heard that some at Thessalonia were not working at all. As someone has said, "the devil finds work for idle hands" and these men had become busy bodies. What is a busybody? It is someone who meddles in the private or family affairs of others. They would be going from house to house, giving advice, maybe from Scripture, about other peoples' situations.

 

12. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

 

Paul says that this has to stop. Instead these people should mind their own business and settle down to work for their living.  

 

13. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

 

Those who were already doing this are encouraged to continue, since all the work we do is done as to the Lord (Col. 3:23 - 24).

 

14,15. Take note of those who do not obey what we say in this letter; have nothing to do with them, so that they may be ashamed. Do not regard them as enemies, but warn them as believers.

 

Any person who refused to obey this instruction was to be excluded from fellowship - avoided by everyone - until they recognized their laziness as sin and became so ashamed that they would do what they ought to do. Yet, they were not to be considered enemies, but as brothers in need of correction.

 

 

Final Prayer and Benediction.

 

16. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.

 

In closing Paul prays that the Lord of peace would give his peace to the Thessalonians' hearts and minds in every situation. He reminds us of God's promise "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

 

17,18. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

 

Paul's signature at the end of his letters were proof to the recipient that they were genuine. His final and usual benediction is that the undeserved favour of God would be with them all. Amen.

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